Series: River Rain #1
Published by Blue Box Press on September 7, 2021
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Narrator: Stella Bloom, Joseph Discher, Gregory Salinas
Length: 13 Hours and 30 Mins
Source: Self Purchased
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Ashley brings a new novel in her River Rain series…
From a very young age, Chloe Pierce was trained to look after the ones she loved.
And she was trained by the best.
But when the man who looked after her was no longer there, Chloe is cast adrift—just as the very foundation of her life crumbled to pieces.
Then she runs into tall, lanky, unpretentious Judge Oakley, her exact opposite. She shops. He hikes. She drinks pink ladies. He drinks beer. She’s a city girl. He’s a mountain guy.
Obviously, this means they have a blowout fight upon meeting. Their second encounter doesn’t go a lot better.
Judge is loving the challenge. Chloe is everything he doesn’t want in a woman, but he can’t stop finding ways to spend time with her. He knows she’s dealing with loss and change.
He just doesn’t know how deep that goes. Or how ingrained it is for Chloe to care for those who have a place in her heart, how hard it will be to trust anyone to look after her…
And how much harder it is when it’s his turn.
This review may contain spoilers, so fair warning, upon reading the review.
Chasing Serenity is the newest book written by Kristen Ashley and its technically the first book in the series, although there is a prequel in the series “After The Climb” and I have yet to read that one and to be honest I didn’t realize they were part of the same series because the first cover was so different from its newer cover and it didn’t match the cover for this book. Now I had heard some really good reviews for this book and I will admit I am a Kristen Ashley STAN—-I pretty much love everything that she writes. I may have issues with character flaws and the like, but I just have loved her work and the beautiful stories that she tells. But this is the LOWEST rating I have ever given this author and it was definitely not one I wanted to give out to this book, because the romance was so precious but this book is so WOKE, and I wasn’t expecting that at all. This author has always been more moderate and conservative in her writing style so for it to be so vastly different than what I have seen from her in the past is disappointing and it really just put me off from my enjoyment of the book overall. So while I did enjoy this one quite a bit, it just was not what I expected and the messaging was “too much”
Chasing Serenity is a contemporary mountain lovin’ romance that features:
Judge Oakley-mountain man and outdoorsman, lover of animals, successful, intelligent
Chloe Pierce-spirited, sassy, outspoken, tenderhearted, and lover of all things fashion and style
Chasing Serenity is a story that sets off with our hero, Judge. He is ending a relationship with a woman who is just not for him at all, they are opposites but more than that, she wants to change him and has deceived him into thinking that she would want children. Judge wants kids while he is young and virile, not when he is older. He wants to enjoy being a dad and doing things actively with his children. And when it’s shown that she has been lying to him about it, he has to cut strings. What are his chances that he would find himself attracted to Chloe Pierce? Chloe is used to being in charge and taking care of her siblings. She has been raised like that and it’s hard to change her “spots” just because her siblings don’t like it when she gives them honesty. She is strong and caring but can also be vain when it comes to her appearance. She sees Judge as being an ass and they don’t get off to the best foot, but she starts to see a caring protective man that would fight for her. But Chloe’s life is far from perfect, and she has a hard time opening up her heart to someone new and she knows that Judge could destroy her if he broke her heart but sometimes life is about risk and nothing with great reward doesn’t come at a cost…
Never put up with anything from anyone that makes you uncomfortable, makes you feel wrong, makes you question the woman you are, or makes you go against who that woman is in her soul. Especially if any of that is coming from a man.
Chasing Serenity is a book I was so excited for and I will admit I didn’t expect it to turn out the way it did. Now, much of the drawbacks of the story are based on seeing lots of feminist terminologies and I am telling you I have read so many of KA, and this is the first time I have seen it so pronounced. It felt more preachy at times and that just took me out of the story and I loss enjoyment of it because when you don’t expect it and an author changes their style like this, it can really throw a reader off. Also, the hero was so TAME haha like not her typical alpha male she writes, he seemed more beta to me. And that saddened me because she does write the best heroes. And while I had a blast with Judge, I felt like he should have fought for Chloe more. Chloe could seem to be superficial at times, and even though I understood her reasoning for driving Judge away in the beginning, I didn’t agree with it. She really hurt Judge quite a bit just out of fear of being hurt. And the way these two interacted in the beginning, it was a struggle to really enjoy it. I did have a hard time with Chloe’s siblings as well. The way they treated her in this book was deplorable. She has sacrificed so much of herself to caring for them, and just for speaking some honest truths about them, they lash back at her in such a demeaning way. My heart just broke for her being treated by those she loved so dearly.
He heard her take a sharp breath into her nostrils and then she said in a rush, “I’m the oldest. I’m expected…certain things are expected of me. It’s natural, I’m sure, but it sometimes isn’t the greatest that no one thinks to take care of me.” Pause then, “You took care of me.”
Now onto the good stuff. While I had issues with aspects of this book, there were still many things I truly enjoyed. Once Judge and Chloe really get past their miscommunication issues, the story really expands from there in your typical KA fashion. So I truly loved the depths that this author delves into here. And seeing the way that this author really explores the way that this pairing grows into each other. There is such a beautiful exploration of their pasts and strengths and seeing how opposite they are they end up understanding one another perfectly. I loved seeing the sexual exploration in this book. Kristen Ashley always tends to write some great sexual tension and I enjoyed seeing the growths in sexual intimacy that Ashley develops with this couple.
While I had some severe issues with this book that stole my enjoyment, I found it to be a tender romance that will deliver on all the feels, it has strong points for being one that will engage you, delight you in those sweet moments KA is infamous for and is a solid read that will satisfy KA lovers.